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UFCW and LCLAA Bring Groundbreaking Immigration Program to Miami

Workers, the labor movement, and allies continue organizing immigrant workers to file and fight for deferred actions on immigration and increased worker protections

UFCW Executive Vice President Esther Lopez, accompanied by the LCLAA board, addresses the press  at LCLAA's regional conference.

UFCW Executive Vice President Esther Lopez, accompanied by the LCLAA board, addresses the press at LCLAA’s regional conference.

(Miami, Fla., Friday, June 12th) – In the wake of the ongoing legal battle that has suspended President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, workers and labor leaders are gathering in Miami over the weekend to build immigrant worker power by mobilizing workers to apply and fight for deferred action. At an event today, workers and labor leaders sent a strong message to local officials and the 2016 presidential election candidates: it is not enough to grant hard working aspiring Americans temporary relief. It’s time to finally fix our broken immigration system.

“We know the lawsuit is a political stunt—an effort to scare away immigrant workers from applying for DAPA. But our movement is as strong and organized as I can ever remember it. Together, we will fight for DAPA. We will fight for DACA. And we will fight for comprehensive immigration reform,” said Esther López, Executive Vice President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). López was joined by Héctor E. Sánchez, Executive Director of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), and María Asunción Bilbao of United Families in calling elected officials to take immediate action to protect immigrant workers from precarious working conditions and to improve living standards for all workers.

“The court’s unnecessary delay in keeping families whole is not holding our movement from preparing our community for deferred action. We hold strong optimism that the court will ultimately rule to move forward with the implementation of DAPA. We are in Miami today to ensure those who will benefit from deferred action are ready to apply on the first day DAPA is implemented,” said Sanchez.

“Unfortunately, our Attorney General, Pam Bondi, supported a lawsuit stopping DAPA,” said Bilbao. “I want to ask all elected officials and presidential candidates to support immigrant families. Support programs like DAPA and DACA so that families like mine can get the protection they need.”

The UFCW has partnered with LCLAA to bring its groundbreaking immigration program to Miami as part of LCLAA’s Regional Conference, which is aimed at advancing Latino and labor issues. From coast to coast, UFCW local unions have hosted workshops to help members determine whether they qualify for deferred action, gather necessary documentation, prescreen their applications, and answer important legal questions. The immigration training and workshop clinic will take place on Sunday, June 14th at Miami Dade Community College –Wolfson Campus.

 

 

New Report Reveals How Retail Industry is Failing Black and Latino Workers

NAACP Retail Race Graph

Demos and the NAACP released a  report last week titled, “The Retail Race Divide: How the Retail Industry is Perpetuating Racial Inequality in the 21st Century.” The paper examines the differences in retail workers’ occupations, earnings, and schedules to reveal how employment in the retail industry fails to meet the needs of the Black and Latino workforce and, as a result, perpetuates racial inequality. As one of the largest sources of new employment in the U.S. economy, and the second-largest industry for Black employment in the country, the problems of occupational segregation, low pay, unstable schedules, and involuntary part-time work among Black and Latino retail staff point to an important chance for employers to make a real impact on racial inequality by paying living wages and offering stable, adequate hours for all retail workers.

The findings show that there is a high demand for workers in the retail industry and finding employment is not the problem for Black and Latino workers. Instead, these workers and their families experience hardships because of the lack of stable pay due to unpredictable hours that fluctuate from week to week, and wages that fall short of meeting a family’s basic needs even with full-time hours. These conditions leave nearly one in 10 retail sales workers in poverty, despite being employed. This number is even higher among Black and Hispanic workers who, not only, face prevalent low-wages and unstable scheduling practices, but the additional obstacles of racial inequality in the labor market.

For a quick breakdown of the jarring statistics from the report, watch below–also available in Spanish.

 

Strike Over as Brooklyn Car Wash Workers Win Landmark Pact

Adapted from RWDSU

526f36a552fdfafdb689b5b78b27b704_0_500_0After a more than four-months on strike during the coldest winter in recent memory,  ‘carwasheros’ at Vegas Auto Spa in Brooklyn, New York, have won a landmark contract agreement that includes wage hikes, strong worker protections and a $1,500-per-person signing bonus.

The owner also agreed to settle a suit the workers filed for wage and hour violations. The men will return to work on Monday.

“This is a perfect example of what can happen when courageous workers stick together in the face of adversity,” said RWDSU President and UFCW Executive Vice President Stuart Appelbaum.

“These brave carwasheros spent four months on the picket line, without an income, in a very cold winter. They understand the difference being in a union can make, and I am proud they are part of the RWDSU,” Appelbaum added.

The contract is the 9th in the car wash industry negotiated since the Wash New York Campaign – a collaboration of New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York and supported by the RWDSU – launched three years ago. It is also the first contract at a Brooklyn car wash.

The two-year agreement includes two wage increases, paid time off, fair sharing of hours and overtime, a grievance procedure and  protection for immigrant workers. It is the strongest contract won in the industry with higher wages, more paid time off and the $1,500 signing bonus.

The agreement came a month after ‘carwasheros’ from across the city, joined by hundreds of  labor leaders, elected officials, advocates and community supporters staged a major march and protest at the car wash at 19th St. and 7th Ave. UFCW International President Marc Perrone and and Appelbaum were arrested at the protest as they showed their support of the rights of these workers. Read more here.